Victoria’s Secret is among the 12 companies included in the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2020 list of “Dirty Dozen” employers.
The announcement was billed as a “special coronavirus edition” and is meant to highlight companies and associations that have “failed to protect workers against the spread of COVID-19, as well as preventable hazards across a range of industries and occupations,” according to the report.
The National COSH noted how the pandemic has exposed gaping holes in the U.S. social and workplace safety net — namely, the more than 27 million Americans without health insurance, the 33.6 million Americans who do not receive paid sick leave and the 21 million-plus workers in insecure jobs, due to the gig economy.
The report also noted how 5,250 workers died from workplace trauma in 2018, which was nearly a 9 percent increase compared to 2014. The report pegged the price of a worker’s life at $7,761 — the median fine imposed on U.S. employers by the U.S. OSHA after a workplace fatality.
Victoria’s Secret landed on the 2020 Dirty Dozen list for having “a culture of misogyny” and due to the death of a worker from COVID-19 at a supplier for the company that has its own history of harassment, the report stated. Some workers at Voyant Beauty, a company that makes and packages beauty products for Victoria’s Secret, claimed that managers demanded sexual favors in exchange for more desirable jobs. Voyant Beauty was formerly known as Vee Pak.
As a manufacturer of hand sanitizers, Voyant has continued to operate during the coronavirus crisis. Workers are said to be operating in close quarters and the company has allegedly failed to provide a safe and clean work environment, according to the report. A 43-year-old worker, Norma Martinez, died on April 13 from COVID-19, the National COSH report stated.
Victoria’s Secret was also singled out for “an entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment.” The National COSH also noted how production workers and fashion models are calling for better workplace practices, as evidenced by Valentine’s Day protests staged by the Model Alliance, Voyant Beauty workers and the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative. Protests were held outside Victoria’s Secret stores in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
A spokeswoman for Victoria’s Secret did not respond immediately to a request for comment Thursday. A media inquiry to Voyant Beauty was not immediately replied to.
The other companies on the 2020 Dirty Dozen list are the American Hospital Association: Chipotle; Eulen America; Fieldale Farms; Hard Rock Café International/1031 Canal Development LLC/Citadel Building/Heaslip Engineering and 10 subcontractors; Lincoln Recycling Services; National Restaurant Association; Sea Watch International; SGL Constructors, Skanska USA, Granite Construction, Lane Construction; Tennessee Valley Authority/Jacobs Engineering and Trader Joe’s.
There were also a few “dishonorable mentions,” including one for Amazon, due to six fatalities and hundreds of injuries as a result of the pace required for next-day delivery and one coronavirus-induced death, according to the National COSH. Montefiore Hospital’s Moses campus, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods also landed in that second category.